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Newspaper History

The Daily Grind

From the Rock Island Argus, September 16, 1912.
By Duncan M. Smith.
 

 Writing pieces for the paper,
 Mostly foolishness and vapor;
 Sometimes reason may slip in,
 Nor is that a deadly sin,
 But it is a sad mistake
 That a writer should not make,
 Lest the reader go to sleep
 Or declare it is too deep
 And the paper fling aside,
 Going forth to take a ride.
 
 Writing for the public print,
 Gossip, story, beauty hint—
 Anything to fill the space
 That a streak of blues will chase;
 Anything that’s light and not
 Clogged with too involved a plot;
 Anything that’s not designed
 To make labor for the mind
 Or to air high sounding views,
 Lest the reader take a snooze.
 
 Writing for the public mart,
 For the eye and for the heart,
 Something simple, straight and plain
 That will rest the reader’s brain
 And will put him in the mood
 For the predigested food
 That adorns the printed page
 In this restless, rushing age;
 That will feed him something light
 Ere he goes to sleep at night.
 
 For we do not read to learn—
 We have knowledge, yes, to burn—
 But we read to be amused
 And to hear our foes abused.
 There is work enough, indeed,
 Where we toil at breakneck speed.
 So when we sit down at night
 With a paper and a light
 Nothing we are after then
 That will make us work again.